Meaning and Universal Grammar

Theory and empirical findings

Volume 2

| The University of New England
| The Australian National University
ISBN 9789027230645 (Eur) | EUR 120.00
ISBN 9781588112651 (USA) | USD 180.00
ISBN 9789027281869 | EUR 120.00 | USD 180.00
This book develops a bold new approach to universal grammar, based on research findings of the natural semantic metalanguage (NSM) program. The key idea is that universal grammar is constituted by the inherent grammatical properties of some 60 empirically established semantic primes, which appear to have concrete exponents in all languages. For six typologically divergent languages (Mangaaba-Mbula, Mandarin Chinese, Lao, Malay, Spanish and Polish), contributors identify exponents of the primes and work through a substantial set of hypotheses about their combinatorics, valency properties, complementation options, etc. Each study can also be read as a semantically-based typological profile. Four theoretical chapters by the editors describe the NSM approach and its application to grammatical typology. As a study of empirical universals in grammar, this book is unique for its rigorous semantic orientation, its methodological consistency, and its wealth of cross-linguistic detail.
[Studies in Language Companion Series, 61]  2002.  xvi, 337 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
“This is a very important work and represents a major advance in the understanding of the dependence of syntactic description on an explicit semantic analysis. This work is especially valuable because the role of semantics, particularly the lexical semantics of verbs, has become increasingly central in current formal theories of syntax, and few semantic theories are as well worked out as that presented here. Syntactic theorists would be well advised to study this book carefully before they glibly invoke vague ( and potentially circular) semantic explanations for syntactic problems.”
“The entire book is written in a maximally clear and simple language. It invites the reader, in a friendly manner, into the creative laboratory, where there is being accomplished a wondrous process of reaching the complex through the simple. At the same time, it is a simplicity deeply thought through; behind it lies a professionalism of the highest order and many years of systematic thinking about the nature of human language.”
“Irrespective of theoretical orientation, one can only be impressed by the scope of the empirical investigation as well as the depth and insight of the resulting semantic descriptions. The theoretical tenets of Anna Wierzbicka's Natural Semantic Metalanguage approach are provocative and highly controversial. They focus attention on fundamental issues and force us to rethink the nature of linguistic meaning and psychologically plausible semantic descriptions. Linguists of all persuasions can profit from examining the analyses presented in this work, the theoretical proposals made, and their possible ramifications.”
Cited by

Cited by 16 other publications

Asano-Cavanagh, Yuko
2020.  In Meaning, Life and Culture: In conversation with Anna Wierzbicka,  pp. 229 ff. Crossref logo
Bogusławski, Andrzej
2021.  In Lingwistyczna teoria mowy. Preliminaria, Crossref logo
Bułat Silva, Zuzanna
2020.  In Meaning, Life and Culture: In conversation with Anna Wierzbicka,  pp. 211 ff. Crossref logo
Erben Johansson, Niklas, Andrey Anikin, Gerd Carling & Arthur Holmer
2020. The typology of sound symbolism: Defining macro-concepts via their semantic and phonetic features . Linguistic Typology 24:2  pp. 253 ff. Crossref logo
Gladkova, Anna
2020.  In Meaning, Life and Culture: In conversation with Anna Wierzbicka,  pp. 155 ff. Crossref logo
Goddard, Cliff
1997. Semantic primes and grammatical categories∗. Australian Journal of Linguistics 17:1  pp. 1 ff. Crossref logo
Goddard, Cliff
2006.  In Handbook of Pragmatics,  pp. 1 ff. Crossref logo
Goddard, Cliff & Anna Wierzbicka
2014. Semantic fieldwork and lexical universals. Studies in Language 38:1  pp. 80 ff. Crossref logo
Goddard, Cliff, Anna Wierzbicka & Horacio Fabréga
2014. Evolutionary semantics: using NSM to model stages in human cognitive evolution. Language Sciences 42  pp. 60 ff. Crossref logo
Haspelmath, Martin
2020. The structural uniqueness of languages and the value of comparison for language description. Asian Languages and Linguistics 1:2  pp. 346 ff. Crossref logo
Wierzbicka, Anna
2001. Australian Culture and Australian English: A Response to William Ramson. Australian Journal of Linguistics 21:2  pp. 195 ff. Crossref logo
Wierzbicka, Anna
2003. ?Reasonable man? and ?reasonable doubt?: the English language, Anglo culture and Anglo-American law. Forensic Linguistics 10:1  pp. 1 ff. Crossref logo
2005. Empirical Universals of Language as a Basis for the Study of Other Human Universals and as a Tool for Exploring Cross-Cultural Differences. Ethos 33:2  pp. 256 ff. Crossref logo
Wierzbicka, Anna & Anna Gladkova
2020.  In Studies in Ethnopragmatics, Cultural Semantics, and Intercultural Communication,  pp. 53 ff. Crossref logo
Wong, Jock
2016.  In Interdisciplinary Studies in Pragmatics, Culture and Society [Perspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy & Psychology, 4],  pp. 857 ff. Crossref logo
Ye, Zhengdao
2014. The meaning of “happiness” (xìngfú) and “emotional pain” (tòngkŭ) in Chinese. International Journal of Language and Culture 1:2  pp. 194 ff. Crossref logo

This list is based on CrossRef data as of 28 july 2022. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.

Subjects & Metadata
BIC Subject: CF – Linguistics
BISAC Subject: LAN009000 – LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
ONIX Metadata
ONIX 2.1
ONIX 3.0
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2002066538 | Marc record